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Vintage speakers for Leben CS300X?

Discussion in 'classic' started by Cato, Jan 13, 2022 at 3:55 PM.

  1. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    I've recently picked up a CS300X, my third one over the past 15 years...and mulling over some suitable vintage partners.

    I live in a London apartment so high spls are out of the question - the room is long and narrow with the speakers firing across, around 10 feet max away from the speakers.

    Thinking vintage JBLs, Celestion Dittons perhaps ? Any thoughts on reasonably sensitive speakers ? I tend to value tone over most other attributes and I only rarely listen to rock, opera and big symphonies..

    Realise this is a longish shot but perhaps someone has experience of low powered EL84 based amps - the Leben is 12-15 watt on a good day...
  2. Fergus

    Fergus pfm Member

    I happily used my Leben CS300XS for many years with a pair of Art Emotion Signatures. Not exactly vintage but a good pairing and sounded excellent.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022 at 7:47 PM
    Cato likes this.
  3. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy How’d all these people get in my room?

    Obvious suggestion, but perhaps some form of Tannoy would suit? I used Kensingtons with my Leben, which although not vintage, did provide the sort of thing you’re after. I actually prefer the little Leben with small box speakers like Harbeth P3ESR or M30.1. The latter gave a useful increase in bass quantity. The other suggestion I’d make (having had a couple of hours with the pairing at Definitive Audio) would be Living Voice. Good sensitivity and would probably suit your placement options as they work best wide apart and toed in more than average.
    Cato likes this.
  4. calorgas

    calorgas Ratty bumpkin

    As above, some Tannoys should work well. I run a pair of 12" golds with a kel84 which I think is also ~12wpc.

    I'm sure there are masses of other options too.
    Cato likes this.
  5. rabbit

    rabbit pfm Member

    I love the sound of my Audio Note AN-E's driven by my CS300XS, they're a good match. Maybe not "vintage" enough for you but they are the same age as the Leben.
  6. daytona600

    daytona600 Registered User

  7. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    thanks ! I also use the Leben with my Falcon ls3/5A gold badge and this works quite well. But also fancy trying something with a ‘bigger’ sound
    Nagraboy likes this.
  8. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

  9. madmike

    madmike I feel much better now, I really do...

    I have a pair of nice Ditton 15s if you're interested ?
  10. RichardA

    RichardA pfm Member

    I have a 300X too and I have been mulling over the same matching issue as the OP (for several years).

    The best combo I have had a home is with a Kibri Naima speaker - a danish semi omni stand-mount that is dirt cheap now (but rare) as the company went bust several years ago. I bought mine from Walrus Systems in London who were enthusiastic supporters as I recall. See images below - quirky looks but some nice finishes.
    I also had a demo with some Klipsch Fortes which didn't quite work for me but were fun and very sensitive (and therefore easy for the Leben). New models look v expensive but older ones might be better value for money and tick the vintage box?
  11. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    Interesting - I do remember the Kibris from Walrus. Loved that little Aladdin’s cave and a pity is no longer around.

    have thought about the Klipsch Heresy IVs .. but rich at £4K new but as you say, one of the older models could do
  12. RichardA

    RichardA pfm Member

    Ditto - big fan of Walrus. I always regret not asking to listen to the 211 based Airtight mono tube amps there. Looked fantastic.
  13. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    Pete and Les were the best- loved how they sourced quirky and unusual gear, and super friendly. Always willing to let me take stuff home to try. Those AT211s are something else, grail kit…
  14. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    The best I've heard Leben EL84 amp (though not X) version is with early 80s speakers from French Cabasse. Think of a Audio Note signature sound just less colored, less distorted in bass and more subtle and detailed across the range. To fire across a longer distance you better go for a 3-way such as Sloop or Clipper series (the speakers differ depending on vintage, some drive units are upgraded but generally they are all brilliant).
    I personally own their active 3-way developed for Radio France International in the 70s (comparable to BBC), personally I found it a way superior to active version of 70s Spendor for BBC, such as BC1A. Wouldn't give them for anything.
    effinity likes this.
  15. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    Anubis - that's an inspired suggestion. I lived in France in the 80'ies and remember Cabasse well but had slipped my mind. Their new spheres are less inspiring to me but will definitely look into this
    effinity likes this.
  16. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    It ain't the same company anymore. Some time ago it was sold to an investment fund and turned into a lifestyle, design driven brand instead of sound... George Cabasse died in early 2000s I think.

    Anyway wish you a good luck to find a good pair, I guess they will be cheaper in the UK than in France - a big cult following is there and prices ain't as cheap as once.
  17. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    Just having a root around online. Myriad of models but all 92/93db+ not sure how many made it over here but will def keep an eye out
  18. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    These need a few clean watts only. The 12" bass driver from the bigger models is among the best ever made, much sought after by extreme DIY-ers since it was revealed it was a 30cm driver of Jean-Michele Le Cleach choice

    For those not familiar with the name JMLC was the late French SET & horns guru.
    Cato likes this.
  19. TimF

    TimF pfm Member

    Another long shot, maybe the WLM series of speaker. I have a pair of the La Scala monitors from around 2006/7 vintage, paper drivers, easy to drive, and even the cone tweeters from Visaton actually sound very good. I enjoy mine with Croft Micro 25/Series 7 amplifiers, they sound pretty good on just about any amp I have had really. Just an outlier, but worth keeping eyes open for them.
    Nagraboy likes this.
  20. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    I recall the WLM range, now discontinued I believe but good shout. Will look around
    TimF likes this.

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